Complete Freedom & I Choose Japanese

Welcome to my study log. I will be documenting my progress toward my goals and travels in Japan for this weird period of time in my life. I just graduated and my job does not start until January of 2025, so I decided the one thing I am going to get really good at in that time is Japanese. Ideally, coming out of this process I will take the N3 in December of this year, as well as enjoy the media I want to comfortably.

For summer, my goals are as follows:

  • Read through the entirety of the Yotsuba manga in Japanese (3/15)
  • Complete all N4 grammar and vocabulary on Bunpro
  • Work through Quartet 1 (I have done Genki 1/2 up until now)
  • Be in a good place conversationally for my time in Japan (Sept - Nov)

My daily routine as stands is:

  • Wanikani max speed as possible
  • Bunpro 2 grammar points and 15 vocabulary items
  • Some kind of reading (one Yotsuba chapter or 2 NHK News Easy articles)

I need to add some kind of listening for my level but have been struggling to find something I enjoy-- any ideas?

As for speaking I am going to look on iTalki/Tandem for a practice partner-- how has anyone’s experience been with this?


What would you say your current listening level is? And what kind of topics do you like listening to?

I have this goal too! It’s on hold right now though because I got bored.


Honestly… it’s not on par with the amount of vocabulary or kanji I know. I’ve done some of the N5 listening tests on YouTube and can get most (90%~) right, but when I jump to N4 I barely understand anything.

I like games and anime but feel it’s too much of a jump, or should I just brute force it with Japanese subtitles even if I don’t understand much?

Nice! Where are you at? We can work at it together :handshake:


I do wonder, how does this happen? I haven’t yet heard of a single job that wouldn’t be able to accomodate someone instantly.

As with reading, I like the “get thrown in the deep end and try to not drown” approach personally.

For very low level stuff, the Nihongo con Teppei is a good introduction to spoken content, though it does have a sudden difficulty spike early on I’ve found.

As for other content, the difficulty of native material is roughly like so
manga < anime < books < audiobooks

If you can already read basic manga, the next logical step would be jumping into anime. Of course, with Japanese subtitles. It’s easier than you think, since at any point, you can just stop, analyze the single sentence that’s in front of you and break it down if you need, but you also get proper pronunciations with it.

The important thing is that you shorten the time you need to go from a sentence you don’t know to looking up what the words in there are. That’s the way that will likely give you the most enjoyment in the process, otherwise it might feel like busywork. This will depend on what platform you watch anime on, and what you have access to though.


For beginning listening material, Comprehensible Japanese, Daily Japanese with Naoko, and Nihongo-learning really saved me. There’s also Nihongo con Teppei if you like podcasts.
It will be a big jump to watching anime or let’s plays, but Yomitan works on Youtube subtitles, and there are ways to use it on Netflix. Something else you could try is rewatching something you’re already very familiar with, with Japanese subtitles. This way, since you already know what’s happening, you can focus completely on listening, and when you don’t understand something, the subtitles are there to help.

I’ve finished volume 4 of Yotsuba, so basically at the same place as you. I’ll try to keep up with you!


It should hopefully be /16 soon. Aaaany day now…

Oh right, I also have some threads about youtube channels you can check out:


These are not easy, but they come with subtitles, and you might enjoy the content.

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I’m in accounting and job start dates post-graduation tend to be in the fall because they want to give people time after they graduate but before they start work to complete their license examinations but also because they aren’t needed until later in the year. Big firms also don’t need the extra help until closer to the winter when busy season starts (at least in auditing), so they push training to closer before that. I already finished my exams though and my job is different so time to study Japanese instead :smiley:

I might follow you on this, it’s what got me to a point where I can comfortably enjoy manga too (or at least easy manga like Yotsuba). I appreciate the recommendations! Like with other things I feel in Japanese at a certain point there is no one “best” way to do it, just got to do something that pushes me further!


I’ll give those a look! I also completely forgot that Quartet came with listening as well-- it’s been a couple of years since I’ve touched Genki to be honest. Yomitan seems very useful as well!

I’ll keep you updated on my Yotsuba progress! I feel I have reached a point where the NHK articles are pretty straightforward and boring outside of the one or new vocab in them, so probably going to be reading just that a lot in the coming weeks.